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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Murphy attacks Rubio over skipping newspaper editorial board interviews



In a week where Patrick Murphy is drawing criticism for avoiding voters, the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate is accusing Republican incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio of the same.

Expanding on attacks on Rubio's poor Senate attendance record, Murphy's campaign today blasted Rubio for "not showing up" to meet with the editorial boards of Florida's newspapers.

Such meetings are traditional in election years. They help educate newspaper editorial boards about the candidates and factor into any endorsements the boards might make ahead of Election Day.

Some Florida newspapers, including the Tampa Bay Times, are already announcing their endorsements for the upcoming Aug. 30 primary -- for which absentee voting is underway and early voting starts in several major counties next week.

The Sun Sentinel this week announced it wouldn't endorse in the Republican U.S. Senate primary between Rubio and Manatee County home-builder Carlos Beruff. The newspaper said Rubio ignored their invitations to meet with its editorial board and "we cannot find that he's met with any Florida editorial board."

Rubio has not met with either the Miami Herald or the Times editorial boards. Murphy sat down with each newspaper two weeks ago. 

"Marco Rubio didn’t show up for Florida in the U.S. Senate, and now he’s not showing up to meet with Florida press and constituents," Murphy spokeswoman Galia Slayen said in a statement. "Meeting with editorial boards is a routine way for public servants to be held accountable for their actions — and Floridians deserve answers from a senator who has always put his personal ambition ahead of Florida. Floridians have tough questions for Marco Rubio. But, as usual, he's nowhere to be found."

In response, Rubio's campaign knocked Murphy for "desperately trying to change the subject after they were caught hiding their candidate from voters and the media for several months."



The Herald/Times reported earlier this week how Murphy has claimed to have done "dozens and dozens" of campaign stops to meet voters, but has actually had relatively few public appearances this summer. He ramped up his campaign in the past couple weeks, but in the mean time, Murphy has still avoided town halls or candidate forums with his opponents and ducked out of a debate with Alan Grayson, his main primary opponent. Tuesday night, a Grayson supporter was kicked out of a Broward County Democratic club meeting -- by the club's president, a Murphy backer -- after trying to ask Murphy why he wouldn't debate Grayson.

"Marco is proud of his record of fighting for Florida families and will continue to regularly meet with voters and the press to answer questions and get his message out to his constituents," Rubio spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas said in a statement. "We hope Patrick Murphy comes out of hiding and does the same."

Rubio's campaign did not answer which newspaper editorial boards the senator had met with or planned to meet with ahead of the primary.

Murphy's repeated attacks on Rubio showcase how Murphy is already eyeing the November general election.

He's the Democratic front-runner in the upcoming primary, where he faces Grayson, a fellow congressman from Orlando, and Miami labor attorney and former naval officer Pam Keith. Former assistant U.S. attorney Reginald Luster of Jacksonville and California real estate developer "Rocky" Roque De La Fuente of Orlando are also running.

The Herald hasn't announced its endorsements yet, but in case you missed it, here was Murphy's interview with the Herald editorial board:

[Last modified: Thursday, August 11, 2016 12:16pm]


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